Accused of genocide by the UN, General Kagame diverts attention by jailing innocent opposition leader Ingabire
by Aimable Mugara.
UN accuses Rwandan government of genocide, Rwanda reacts by arresting innocent opposition leader
On October 1st, 2010 the United Nations Human Rights Commission released a report on crimes that were committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003. The UN report said that “The extensive use of edged weapons (primarily hammers) and the apparently systematic nature of the massacres of survivors after the camps had been taken suggests that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage. The majority of the victims were children, women,elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces. Numerous serious attacks on the physical or mental integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot,raped, burnt or beaten. If proven, the incidents’ revelation of what appears to be the systematic, methodological and premeditated nature of the attacks listed against the Hutus is also marked: these attacks took place in each location where refugees had allegedly been screened by the AFDL/APR over a vast area of the country. The pursuit lasted for months, and on occasion, the humanitarian assistance intended for them was allegedly deliberately blocked, particularly in the Orientale province, thus depriving them of resources essential to their survival. Thus the apparent systematic and widespread attacks described in this report reveal a number of inculpatory elements that, if proven before a competent court, could be characterized as crimes of genocide.”
Less than 2 weeks later, in what appears to be an attempt to distract the world’s opinion from the UN’s findings, the same Rwandan government accused of genocide by the UN arrested opposition leader Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza on October 14, 2010. This is the second time in less than a year that this opposition leader has been arrested by the Rwandan government. The first time in April 2010, she was released on bail and was under virtual house arrest. It is very suspicious that out of the only 3 real opposition leaders in Rwanda, two of them are now in jail and the third one is in exile.
The current Rwandan government’s abuse of prisoners has been documented by many human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Mrs Ingabire is currently at risk of torture, or even death while incarcerated.
This is a very sad moment for Rwanda because the current Rwandan government which is accused of genocide by the UN is continuing to send a message that if you participate peacefully in the country’s political process, there is a price to pay. If the government thinks that the people may vote for you, you will be jailed. This disrespect for human rights and democracy is exactly what caused the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the 1996-1997 genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The extremists’ belief that the only way to resolve political issues is through violence is exactly what caused those genocides. For 50 years, there has never been a peaceful transfer of power in Rwanda. Every president of Rwanda who has ever lost power lost it only by being killed or by being jailed. Mrs Victoire Ingabire believed in a new Rwanda. A new Rwanda where power can be changed peacefully, at the ballot box.
This year marks a turning point in Rwanda’s future. What happens from now on will determine whether the 50 year curse of using violence to make political change in Rwanda remains the only way possible. Whether genocides committed by extremist Tutsis and genocides committed by extremist Hutus continue to be the only way to change power. Or whether non-violent peaceful democratic ways championed by Mrs Ingabire remain a viable option to create political change in Rwanda.
Below are 4 examples of actions you can take to help the Rwandan people in this very dark moment of Rwandan history:
1. Donate to Mrs Ingabire’s Legal Defense Fund at http://ww.fdu-rwanda.org/donation
In the Comments field, please note “Ingabire’s Legal Defense Fund”
2. Contact your local Human Rights Watch office and let them know of today’s injustice and how Mrs Ingabire is at risk of torture and assassination.
Contact info can be found at: http://www.hrw.org/en/contact-us
3. Contact Amnesty International Secretariat and let them know of today’s injustice and how Mrs Ingabire is at risk of torture and assassination.
Contact info can be found at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/contact
4. Contact any other organizations you can think of such as media, human rights organizations, international aid groups, embassies.